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Maple Syrup vs. Corn Syrup: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees, while corn syrup is a processed syrup made from cornstarch, often used as a thickener and sweetener in foods.

Key Differences

Maple syrup is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees, primarily harvested in the northeastern United States and Canada, resulting in a natural sweetener with a distinctive flavor. Corn syrup, on the other hand, is manufactured from cornstarch, undergoing a process that breaks down the starches into glucose, resulting in a sweet, thick liquid.
The flavor of maple syrup is unique and complex, often described as rich, with hints of vanilla and caramel, making it a favorite for pancakes and waffles. Corn syrup, however, has a mild, sweet flavor, lacking the depth of maple syrup, and is commonly used in baking and candy making for its sweetening and thickening properties.
Nutritionally, maple syrup contains minerals like manganese and zinc, and it is often touted for having antioxidant properties. Corn syrup, especially the high-fructose variety, is mainly composed of sugars and is often criticized for its potential health impacts, including contributing to obesity and diabetes.
In culinary uses, maple syrup is not just a sweetener but also a flavor enhancer, used in various recipes from breakfast foods to glazes and sauces. Corn syrup is valued in the food industry for its ability to prevent crystallization and for providing a smooth texture in candies and baked goods.
The production of maple syrup is labor-intensive and seasonal, relying on specific weather conditions for sap collection, making it more expensive than corn syrup. Corn syrup, being industrially produced, is widely available and more affordable but lacks the natural and artisanal qualities of maple syrup.

Comparison Chart


Sap of maple trees


Rich, with hints of vanilla and caramel
Mild and sweet

Nutritional Content

Contains minerals, antioxidants
High in sugars, mainly glucose

Culinary Uses

Flavor enhancer, sweetener
Sweetener, thickener, prevents crystallization


Seasonal, labor-intensive
Industrial, widely available

Maple Syrup and Corn Syrup Definitions

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup can be used as a flavoring agent in baking and cooking.
She used maple syrup in her oatmeal cookie recipe for added flavor.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a sweet syrup derived from cornstarch.
She added corn syrup to the candy mixture to prevent crystallization.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a traditional North American product, particularly from Canada.
Canadian maple syrup is famous worldwide for its quality.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a versatile ingredient used in various culinary applications.
Corn syrup is essential in making smooth, glossy chocolate icing.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees.
I drizzled maple syrup over my pancakes.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is commonly used as a thickening agent in foods.
Corn syrup was used to thicken the sauce for the stir-fry.

Maple Syrup

In culinary terms, maple syrup is a versatile ingredient for sweet and savory dishes.
Maple syrup was used to glaze the roasted carrots.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup can refer to a range of products, including high-fructose corn syrup.
High-fructose corn syrup is often found in soft drinks and processed foods.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup can be a natural alternative to processed sugars.
He switched to maple syrup as a healthier sweetening option in his coffee.

Corn Syrup

In the food industry, corn syrup is a staple ingredient for its sweetening and textural properties.
Many commercial baked goods contain corn syrup for added sweetness.


What are the main uses of maple syrup in cooking?

Maple syrup is used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer in various dishes, from breakfast foods to glazes.

Can corn syrup replace maple syrup in recipes?

Corn syrup can replace maple syrup in terms of sweetness, but it won't provide the same flavor profile.

Is maple syrup healthier than corn syrup?

Maple syrup contains minerals and antioxidants and is generally considered healthier than corn syrup.

What is the shelf life of maple syrup?

Maple syrup can last for years when stored properly in a cool, dark place.

What is maple syrup made from?

Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees.

How is corn syrup produced?

Corn syrup is produced from cornstarch through a process that breaks down starch into glucose.

Why is corn syrup used in candy making?

Corn syrup is used in candy making for its ability to prevent crystallization and provide a smooth texture.

Is corn syrup used in soft drinks?

Yes, high-fructose corn syrup is commonly used in soft drinks.

Can maple syrup be used in savory dishes?

Yes, maple syrup can be used in savory dishes for its unique flavor.

Is corn syrup considered a natural product?

Corn syrup is a processed product and not typically considered natural.

Can diabetics consume maple syrup?

Maple syrup contains sugars, so it should be consumed cautiously by diabetics.

Is pure maple syrup the same as pancake syrup?

No, pancake syrup often contains corn syrup and artificial maple flavoring, unlike pure maple syrup.

Is high-fructose corn syrup the same as corn syrup?

High-fructose corn syrup is a type of corn syrup that has been processed to increase fructose content.

Can corn syrup be made from other grains?

Corn syrup is specifically made from corn; syrups from other grains would be different products.

Does corn syrup have any nutritional value?

Corn syrup is primarily sugar and does not offer significant nutritional value.

Is there a taste difference between light and dark corn syrup?

Light and dark corn syrups have similar sweetness, but dark corn syrup has a more pronounced caramel flavor.

Can maple syrup spoil?

Maple syrup can spoil if not stored properly, especially after opening.

How is maple syrup harvested?

Maple syrup is harvested by tapping maple trees and collecting the sap, which is then boiled down.

Can maple syrup be used as a sugar substitute in baking?

Yes, maple syrup can be used as a sugar substitute in baking, but adjustments may be needed for the recipe.

Are there different grades of maple syrup?

Yes, maple syrup is classified into different grades based on color and flavor intensity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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